Azusa Pacific University students placed second in the 17th annual California Regional Ethics Bowl on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013, at National Hispanic University in San Jose and secured a position at the National Ethics Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, on February 27. Competing against 13 California colleges and universities, including University of California, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, and California State University, San Diego, Azusa Pacific went undefeated in the morning rounds, advancing to the semifinals and finishing second over all.

“For the first time in the nearly 20-year history of the Ethics Bowl, APU’s team will represent our university and the state at the national level, ” said Rico Vitz, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and Ethics Bowl coach. “This achievement attests to the caliber of our student debaters who worked diligently to prepare for this competition.” The five-member APU team includes Max Vasquez ’15, Alain Leon ’16, Stefano Richichi ’14, Austin Humphrey ’14, and Justin Manassee ’15.

Team members enrolled in a Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL 495) class taught by Vitz. The course involved extensive reading on a variety of ethically complex issues. Students analyzed issues from multiple angles, wrestled with tough topics, and learned how to defend their values and beliefs.

APU was 1 of 18 teams at the California Regional Ethics Bowl to argue and defend their moral stance on ethical issues facing society. Participants grappled with real-life cases and answered questions that addressed an array of topics in business, professional ethics, personal relationships, and social and political ethics.

“While placing second proves significant, we achieved more than a plaque and advancement to nationals,” said Manassee. “Our performance demonstrates that Christians have a voice in these discussions, and that we can also lead them. Through this experience, we learned to express ourselves confidently and intellectually.”